Cynthia Crofoot Rignanese, Esquire
Thinking Globally, Practicing Locally in Central Florida Since 1990

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Paying for Long Term Care

Are you worried about becoming incapacitated and how to pay for it?

Did you know:

   *There are 683 licensed nursing homes in Florida, representing approximately 83,587 beds.
   *The estimated number of residents is 73,000 (roughly 85% occupancy at any given time).
   *There are 3,089 licensed ALFs in Florida, representing approximately 92,000 beds.
    *The median annual cost of care for a semi-private room in a Florida nursing center is $87,600.
    *The median annual cost of care for a private room in a Florida nursing center is $96,725.
    *The median annual cost for care for a private room in a Florida assisted living facility is $37,800.
    *Nearly 40 percent of long term care spending is paid for by private funds.
    *Medicare, which covers rehabilitation services after an individual is discharged from a hospital, pays for 19 percent of all long term care spending.
    *Medicaid, which covers health care costs for low-income individuals, pays for approximately 60 percent of all long-term care spending.
    *Accounting for about 40 percent of total expenditures on nursing centers, Medicaid's payments cover the care of more than half of all nursing home residents.
    *Medicare patients have short rehabilitative stays – 33 days average.
    *Medicaid and private pay patients have long lengths of stay – 386 days average.
    *Florida has one of the lowest over-65 population to nursing home population ratio in the country.
    *Medicaid patient days have declined from a high of 17.2 million days in 2004 down to 15.5 million days in 2009.

[Sources for statistics: Agency for Health Care Administration and Florida Health Care Association]

Yes, you read that correctly! A mere 15.5 MILLION DAYS! And a cost of nearly $100,000 for a private room!

Most families in Florida are unable to write a check to pay for long term care for an extended period. Medicare does not cover long term care costs. If you do not have long term care insurance and you or your family cannot continue to pay for care, eventually you will need to qualify for Medicaid.

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that pays for long term care for eligible people. The main eligibility criteria is the assets of the person and his spouse. A person can only have $2,000 in available assets plus either an irrevocable prepaid burial plan or a separate burial fund with a maximum of $1,500. The spouse of the applicant is limited in the assets she can own as to the dollar amount, plus a home and one car. It is important to remember that you cannot simply give away all your assets to qualify for medicaid. Even if you have limited assets, there is also an income limit.

Because Medicaid eligibility rules change regulary, it is important you work with an experienced attorney and team to plan for long term care costs. The attorney can review your resources and help develop a plan to qualify you for Medicaid while preserving assets for your spouse, where possible. Starting the planning process before a person needs long term care will maximize the chances for the best outcome.

It is best to meet with Rignanese & Associates so that we can guide you and be part of the team to craft your in craft your plan. Let us help you save time, trouble and money. 

Rignanese & Associates is available to work with clients on their unique situation. Please reach out to us at our new headquarters at 203 Avenue A, NW, Suite, 101, Winter Haven, Florida 33881 at 863.294.1114.